Category Archives: Executive Powers

You See, Michael Berry, These People are Your Friends

Michael Berry was trying to be all sensible and fair today — he says “fair enough” enough every day — but he sidestepped his good buddy’s complete nonsense last night — Rick Perry is who I am referring to.

Well, this nonsense has been brewing for a while.  These are the people who are Michael’s friends.   These are the people who think that the Constitution is everything and they are fighting for their FREEDOM — as Chris Baker is always stuck on.  Both of them are free to lie on a 50,000 watt scream machine, so I don’t know why they bellyache so much.

Doing pro bono work is part of being an attorney.  At times, some very good attorneys step up and do their best to protect individuals from the vigilantes in our midst.  Can Berry or Baker explain their brethren to me?  Why is there a problem with very good well-qualified attorneys working for the justice department?  Why the witch hunt?

Could it be that they see the writing on the wall?  With the embarrassment that was the Rick Perry election, do they know it’s actually now over and they are trying to take out as many people as they can?

Can anyone give me any insight into the crazy that is the conservative/republican/libertarian “movement”?

It Takes Time, I Guess

Ashcroft can be held liable for violating the civil rights of those picked up in the sweeps after 9/11 of people as “witnesses” who then were considered terrorists without a shred of evidence.

Even though it’s taken a long time, as with almost all legal cases, this is a very good step forward.

What am I missing?

I’ve never had cable, but the complete craziness that is Glenn Beck draws me like a magnet.  So what if only 1% of the people in this country watch him — the point is to get more, no?

His radio show can’t compete with Limbaugh or Hannity, so that’s why he always sells the visual on his radio program.  Dimwit Pat Grey (Gray) late of local Houston radio can’t be of much help.

Kathleen (commenters are fun!) seems to think Beck is the man of truth.

This way lies rebellion and dare I say it: treason.

I just had to put that in there 🙂

Classes start tomorrow and I am already behind.  Fall is such an ass-kicker.

If Kathleen had a job, what would she do?

I suggested that we have some tissues and wipes in our classrooms.  We get the benefit (I guess) but I spurred my boss to go with a more environmentally negative solution.


At this point I just want to survive her.

Some Pre-Debate Thoughts

First up:  Bad Karma or just plain stupid?  Jerome Corsi thought it would be a good idea to go to Kenya to sell his smear book about Obama.  He also wanted to meet with Obama’s half brother. (Some people have no understanding of people who value honor.  Obama’s half brother doesn’t want the attention — he feels ashamed of himself, but has taken responsibility for his actions and life.  Why can’t people just leave him alone?)  Corsi was detained and then deported.  (Even handed but interesting article herefrom the CSM.)

Finally free or not quite?  The Bush administration lost in court again but will appeal.  Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered that 17 Uighurs be released from Gitmo 6+ long years after they were turned in tho the U.S. military for a bounty.  The basis of the appeal?  Same old same old:

The Justice Department said it planned to seek a stay of Urbina’s order. His ruling “presents serious national security and separation of powers concerns and raised unprecedented legal issues,” said Brian Roehrkasse, a department spokesman.

I got one of my retirement account statements yesterday — it’s a little one from a part time gig I had right after grad school, not my main one) and it has lost a little over 10% in value.  In a way I’m lucky — my accounts have time to recover.

Bill Bennett got something right — stopped clock or has he come to his senses?  This morning Bennett was looking for and giving advice to McCain for the debate.  Overwhelmingly, the verdict is that McCain has to look at Obama.  Perhaps easier said than done for McCain.

I saw two more cars with Obama stickers today in the parking garage — only one McCain so far.

The last segment on the News Hour tonight is especially good.  The description:

Poet Kwame Dawes teamed up with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to create a multimedia Web site called “HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica.” The interactive site pairs his poetry with music, essays and video from people living with the disease and their caretakers.

As for the debate, I don’t think it will be a game-changer either way.  Obama’s numbers, particularly in individual states, are not only holding, but improving.  My favorite wingnut Kathleen is responding on cue to the recent McCain rhetoric:

I fear for our country. I fear that we may elect Obama, the man who taps on the window and smiles and seems so harmless, but in the end hurts us. (This refers to a story from her youth earlier in the post.)  I fear he will hurt our country in ways that can’t be measured. I don’t mean that Obamais a bad person. I am speaking metaphorically. I mean that the socialistic things he wants to achieve and his misunderstanding of the war on terror will make us so much less of a country and hurt us for generations to come.

He is the dangerous one.

As a persistent Bush supporter (she defends him to this day), I guess it’s understandable that she doesn’t realize the deeper meaning of what she is saying.

Another Book on Torture

Scott Horton writes No Comment for Harper’s.  I started reading him  because he’s followed the politicization of the Bush Justice Department.

Today he has up a post that’s a question- answer thing with Jane Mayer, whose book The Dark Side came out yesterday.  The subtitle is: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.  I don’t check Horton every day, but I’m glad I did today.  Here’s part of Horton’s intro to the interview:

In a series of gripping articles, Jane Mayer has chronicled the Bush Administration’s grim and furtive dealings with torture and has exposed both the individuals within the administration who “made it happen” (a group that starts with Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington), the team of psychologists who put together the palette of techniques, and the Fox television program “24,” which was developed to help sell it to the American public.

He’s also got an audio interview link up.

I heard Horton the other day on Pacifica when John Yoo and David Addingtonwere in front of John Conyers’ committee “testifying.”  I watched most of it on C-Span online.  It was truly frustrating.

Also this week, the attorney’s for Canadian Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr release a short portion of a video“interview” of Khadr (when he was a teenager) by someone from the Canadian government.  I can’t bring myself to watch it, but I have read about it.  He was in a program happily called “frequent flyer” where detainees were not allowed to sleep by moving them from one cell to another every couple of hours, were fed a erratic times, and exposed to extremes in temperatures, in plan to happily “soften them up.”

I don’t know what else to say, except that it’s the 21st century, right?

A Barbaric Circle Made Complete

From the NYT via memeorandum — The plan for interrogations at Gitmo orginated from the methods (which the U.S. classified as torture) used by Red China on U.S. military personnel during the Korean War — which btw — resulted in mostly false confessions from said personnel.

So, let’s get this straight:  The Red Chinese tortured U.S. military personnel during the Korean War.  The torture results in false confessions, i.e. admitting to the U.S. using germ warfare, among other atrocities.  These men were later interviewed and they detailed what was done to them.  The military then incorporated this information into SERE training.  Then the Bush Administration decides that it would be a good idea to use the same techniques our government had long claimed was torture on detainees at Gitmo.

One more time — to just pound it home — The Bush Administration took torture techniques from Red China,  known to have produced false confessions, and used them in some completely misguided attempt to get TRUE confessions from the detainees in Gitmo.

These ‘techniques’ aren’t lawfully used by the DoD anymore, but Bush made sure the CIA still can.

I’m sure that the genius who came up with this thought something along the lines of, “Well the Chinese didn’t get it right, but we can!!!!”

A “fun” factoid from the article — these are the same techniques used by cults to brainwash initiates.  That’s just great. /sarcasm

 Added: Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly  + comments

Legal Expert Not So Honest?

Gerald Treece has been the legal expert ‘go-to guy’ for the media in Houston for years.  My impression of him, whenever he gives his opinion, has always been that he was fair.

Recently, I’ve heard him a couple of times on Dan Patrick’s radio show.  What I heard from him today has given me seconds thoughts about just how fair, much less accurate, he actually is.

He and Patrick were discussing the SCOTUS case regarding Gitmo from last week.  After briefly trashing Justice Kennedy, Treece said that he was really surprised by the decision because ti was the Democrat Congress that had passed the MCA.

Ooops!  That’s wong.

I’m not going to change my opinion of him based on that one statement (no matter how telling it is).  But it’s hard to figure out how someone in his position — big dog in a law school, often on radio and television because of his legal expertise — could get something so wrong by accident.  By using the term Democrat the way he did — perhaps he was playing to his audience.  By trying to say that the congress was controlled by the Democrats in 2006 smells like what other Republicans have been trying to do in the run up to the election — blame everything on the Democrats.